As the official opening of the winter season approaches I hope that all of you are snug in your homes with lots of warm blankets, a nice fire on the hearth and wonderful scents wafting about you. Winter is such a splendid time to contemplate the inner dimensions of life and enrich ones understanding about the mystery of their own existence and the beauty of life as a whole.
Here are some sweet quotes that may delight you-
Of winter's lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer's secret
Deep down within its heart.
Charles G. Stater
There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature,wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.
Winter is to me one of the really precioius times of life. Several memorable events have happened during that time which have left an indelible impression on my heart.
When I was about 19 years old I passed(as many people do) through a particularly hard time and felt as if my life was a barren waste land with no direction and meaning. It was a time of deep despair and sorrow. I came back to my home town, Davis, California after a short stay at a Zen Center on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Just before that I had dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. It was to say the least a tumultous time. One day I was out for a long walk. It was a crisp cool winter's day. The trees were naked and bare and one could see the telephone wires stretching from pole to pole. My attention was drawn upward towards the wires for on them were perched many small birds singing gloriously in the still air. In that moment I knew that my life had changed and all would be well. Those small birds and their sweet song-those innocent small winged creatures who did not have a home or even regular food to eat were yet filled with a pure song that made my own heart realize that life is rich for the person who has the eyes to see it even if they do not have much in the way of outer possessions.
The following winter I found myself on the East Coast attending Friend's World College on Long Island in New York. When day my advisor who was from Sri Lanka-a very highly trained scientists while at the same time being a modest, humble and sweet man, had taken me for a walk in a nearby park. Pointing to the nearby trees which were naked and bare in the winter cold, he said-"Christopher, just see how the trees respond to the cold as compared to us. They lose all their foliage and stand naked in the winter light. And as the cold season approaches we human beings put on more and more layers of clothing to protect ourselves." Then he went on to tell me that he hoped that in the life to come I would learn how to be more like the trees in an inner way. He said many storms, trials and test would come as they must come for everybody-but he felt that if a person could learn to accept these experiences as teachers of a sublime sort then one may become more open, wise and perceptive which he likened to the trees instead of becoming more cut off, resentful and selfish represented by the layer upon layer of clothings we put on.
I am sure all of you have had those powerful experiences in your lives-very simple things that have changed your way of thinking. They stand as golden moments in the life inspiring to move foreward in our own quest however that may manifest for us.
An important database on the gc analysis of essential oils by my dear colleague Dr. Ermias Dagne of Ethiopia
On gaunt Eucalyptus a turban of snow,
While golden-plumed wattle is waving below:
The slender Kennedia with crimson is fleck'd,
Clematis with spangles of silver bedeck'd;
Velvet and gems to embroider the plain,
Feathery ferns in the shadowy dell,
Pink for the Aster and blue for the bell.
Barton, Emily M., 1817-1909: Spring Morning in the Bush
As we head into the latter part of the year, I hope that each one of you has many things to be grateful for. As we all know the times that we live present many challanges in terms of keeping ones inmost aspirations and hopes alive. But to dream beautiful dreams and to endeavor to put bring those dreams into manifestation is the right of each on of us no matter what is happening in the outer world. History is full of examples of people who realizing their great inner potential did many lovely things for the creation in spite of the difficulties and obstacles surrounding them. Even the smallest effort to bring a ray of light into the life of someone else is precious beyond compare. There are many many small things we can do each and everyday to make the world a better place to live.
From arid streets to pass
Down those green aisles where golden wattles bloom,
Over the fragrant grass,
And smell the eucalyptus in a gloom
That is as clear as glass,
The dew-fresh scents of bracken and of broom ...
Cambridge, Ada, 1844-1926.: On Australian Hills.
Suzanne and I frequently walk amidst the eucalyptus groves that grow in a large nature preserve behind where we live. It is a gift and treasure to have this stately palace of trees to walk amongst. In the evening as we make our way along the trail the light slants through their slim shimmering leaves giving them a luminosity that transforms the environment from the beautiful to the ethereal. As the breeze moves through their tall arching branches their fresh invigorating odor mingles with other forest smells delighting our hearts and enliving our minds.
Sometimes in the winter and early spring great wind storms blow through these slim towering giants causing them to creak and moan as they arch back and forth. It is a glorius intoxicating sound. When the leaves are splashed with cold rain drops the odor intensifies and adds to the majestic beauty of the natures wind inspired symphony.
The great loose hanging bark which clings to the trees in the calmer weather is separted from the straight spare trunks and covers the path before us.
The trees themselves are a reminder of peoples and places that have existed for many thousands of years. These denizens of the botanical world coexisted with the aborginal folk of Australia since time beyond reckoning. In the world of the people who have harmonized their lives with the environment in which they live-trees are not just trees, rocks are not just rocks, rivers are not just rivers. They are living beings who have voices which can be heard and understood.
When I was in Australia several years back I went to a musuem in Sydney where beautiful art work created by native peoples were on display. One large piece was a depiction of a storm moving across the desert. But it was not a depiction of the scene was we might view it from the modality of the Western mind. It was composed of many thousands of tiny points of paint in various patterned hues and colors in a sublime pattern that captured the energy movement of the forces of nature over the landscape. It was not the fixing of individual components on the canvas so that we could say, "ah there is a tree, there is a mountain, etc" It was way beyond that. It was the energy flow behind what we would call solid forms. And in this one painting a whole world of perception on a finer level was revealed-a perception filled with living in harmony with the environment.
It may be very difficult for us to understand or even sympathize with such a viewpoint. Our lives have become filled with many distracting material objects that are solid and which we can possess. But there is much to be said for the so called "tribal" peoples, people that we consider "backword". There may be other riches that fill the heart when attunement of nature is attained. There are many many things not visible to our material eyes that could make life a constant joy and wonder.
I mention this only because living in the environments which have been given us to live in, we can learn many incredible things. Plants exist everywhere and in many places we find plants from other countries adapted to the environments in which we live. They have within their being stories of worlds and places that we can visit if we allow our creative imagination, our inner understanding to be influenced by them.
Their stories are very ancient and beautiful and can awaken within us feelings and experiences that are at once cultural and transcultural. I think we are not as limited as we imagine ourselves to be. There are vast untapped resources within each and every heart if we allow ourselves to believe that there is goodness and beauty in the world around us and we make some effort to overcome our ingrained prejudices we may discover a sublime radiance revealing itself in even the most famaliar things.
Here is an example of how nature's world was viewed by Aborginal peoples. The story contains an important reference to eucalyptus.
The Dreamtime myths from all parts of Australia confirm that death is an unavoidable experience of life. Death is the final crisis in a succession of initiatory rebirths that constitute the very nature of life. All Aboriginal stories relate that during the Dreamtime something might have been done to completely change the all-powerful, irreversible nature of death but the fatal step was taken by some ancestral being and set the precedent for all time. Each tribal group has a Dreamtime story thatdepicts the moment when death was introduced into creation.
The story from the Flinders Range in South Australia portrays two invertebrate species; the presence of such characters designates it as a story from a very early stage of the Dreaming. One creature is a spider, Adambara. The other, a furry yellow caterpillar called Artapudapuda, burrows into decomposing wood underneath the bark of eucalyptus (wida) trees. This species of caterpillar gives off a strong odour of decomposition and resembles rotten grass in colour and texture, which is what Artapudapuda means. It attacks spiders.
Adambara and Artapudapuda sat together and had a talk. They were sorting out what should happen when people became so sick that they died. They went away to think about it for a while, then they came back together again to make a decision.
Artapudapuda said when a tribal person died his body should stay in the grave and rot, and only his spirit should rise after three days.
Adambara said no, that is not what he wanted. When a tribal person died, he said, he should be wrapped up in a web with a trap door, and the door closed and left for three days. During this time there would be a healing process, and at the end of the three days, he would come out, just as a butterfly comes out of a cocoon. This is what Adambara wanted for humans.
Artapudapuda won the argument, and the two insects went their separate ways. After a while Artapudapuda realized that his relations were dying and he wasn't seeing them again. He was getting really upset about it. He was ashamed of the decision he had made, and hid himself under the bark of a wida tree.
Adambara, on the other hand, knew he had tried his best for tribal people and was not ashamed. He stayed out in the open. This is why even today Artapudapuda is always found hiding under the bark of a wida tree, whereas Adambara is always out where he can be seen
Now a barren length
Of tall straight eucalyptus, till again
A babbling voice is heard, and through green banks
Of emerald fern and mossy boulder rocks,
The Currawong dances o'er a pebbly bed,
In rippling clearness, or with cresting foam
Splashes and leaps in snowy cascade steps.
Heron, Emilie Matilda Australie, 1845-1890:
FROM THE CLYDE TO BRAIDWOOD
The world of euclayptus species essences is one that many of us enjoy exploring. Species like E. globulus, E. smithii, E. polybractea and Eucalyptus radiata each have their own unique nuances but share the wonderful crisp, fresh, invigorating, powerful, cooling, minty, camphoraceous, medicinal notes.
Other species like E. citriodora, E. staigeriana. and E. macarthuri reveal other characteristics which find their use in perfumery. One may appreciate the rosy-citronella like, sweet, balasmic-flora, lemony, fruity rosy, fruity, woody , fruity-lemony notes they contain.
It is a genus that in every instance refreshes and invigorates the finely wrought olfactory perceptors so that they can perceive the world of odiferous molecules afresh.
Know'st thou the land where thick the wattles grow,
And golden blossoms through the green leaves glow,
Where, giant like, the eucalyptus towers
And with fresh fragrance fills the forest bowers?
Know'st thou it well? Oh, thither, O my friend,
Thither with thee, beloved, would I wend!
Cuthbertson, James Lister, 1851-1910: KENNST DU DAS LAND
Eucalyptus Around the World
Over thousands of years eucalyptus evolved in dry and infertile soils in the region that is today Australia. For specialists, this explains its characteristics of resistance, rapid growth and capacity for recovery under adverse environmental circumstances.
Throughout the world there are approximately 700 different eucalyptus species, with dozens of them in countries such as Chile, the U.S. and China, whose climates and soils are as diverse as Brazil's.
It is a tree that belongs to the Myrtaceae family, the same as the guava, jabuticaba and Brazil cherry trees.
paintings on eucalyptus bark
painting of rainbow eucalyptus in Hawaii
eucalyptus citriodora leaves
eucalyptus citriodora tree
Although eucalypts must have been seen by the very early European explorers and collectors, no botanical collections of them are known to have been made until 1770 when Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander arrived at Botany Bay with James Cook. There they collected specimens of E. gummifera and later, near the Endeavour River in northern Queensland, they collected E. platyphylla; neither of these species was named as such at the time.
In 1777, on Cook's third expedition, the botanist David Nelson collected a eucalypt on Bruny Island, southern Tasmania. This specimen was taken to the British Museum in London, where it was named Eucalyptus obliqua by the French botanist,Charles-LouisL'Héritier, who was working in London at the time. He coined the generic name from the Greek roots eu and calyptos, meaning 'well' and 'covered', in reference to the operculum of the flower bud. This organ protects the reproductive
structures during their development and sheds under pressure from the emerging stamens at flowering. The name obliqua was derived from the Latin, obliquus, meaning 'oblique', describing a leaf base where the two sides of the leaf blade are of unequallength and do not meet the petiole at the same place.
In the publication of Eucalyptus obliqua, L'Héritier perpetuated in the generic name a feature common to all eucalypts - the operculum. In his choice of specific name, he recognised not only a characteristic feature of E. obliqua but one that occurs in most
others as well. E. obliqua was published in 1788 and coincides with the date of the first official settlement of Australia.
Between 1788 and the beginning of the nineteenth century several more species of Eucalyptus were named and published. Most of these were by the English botanist James Edward Smith and most were, as might be expected, trees of the Sydney region. They include the economically valuable E. pilularis, E. saligna and E. tereticornis, each of which also occur in Queensland, with the distribution of E. tereticornis extending to eastern New Guinea.
The nineteenth century was a period of extensive land exploration. This resulted in the discovery of many new eucalypts and their subsequent naming by several of the great botanists in Australian history, particularly Ferdinand von Mueller, whose work oneucalypts contributed greatly to the first comprehensive account of the genus in George Bentham's Flora Australiensis (1867) - still the only complete Australian flora. Bentham never visited Australia, but his account is the most important early systematic treatment of the genus Eucalyptus.
A fascinating and nicely detailed account of the further history of Eucalyptus is on the above mentioned web site
Beginning of the essential oil industry in Australia
Baron Ferdinand von Meuller, the Government Botanist in Victoria, encouraged Joseph Bosisto, a Victorian pharmacist, to investigate the essential oils of the eucalyptus on a commercial basis. Joseph Bosisto was a Yorkshireman who had qualified as a Pharmacist in Leeds and London. He arrived in Adelaide in 1848 at the age of 21. In 1851 he moved to Victoria in search of gold, but instead opened a pharmacy in Richmond.
As a result of the collaboration with von Meuller the essential oil industry of Australia began in 1852, when Bosisto commenced operations in a small, rudely constructed still at Dandenong Creek, Victoria, using the leaves of a form of E. radiata (then known as E. amygdalina) which grew profusely in the district. Bosisto soon built other distilleries at Emerald, Menzies Creek and Macclesfield.
However, it should be pointed out that from the very beginning oil production has been a very primitive business. Even today in a few areas the distillation of the foliage is still carried out in primitive stills set here and there in the mountains.
The production of eucalyptus oil in the 1880’s was often carried out by aboriginals and by erstwhile miners as the goldfields petered out. It was hard work. The virgin scrub was cut by hand with slashers and special sickles. It was collected and carted by wagon to the distillery where the freshly cut leaves were dumped into vertical iron stills set into the ground below wagon level for easy filling. After steam had carried over the volatile oil the spent leaves were hoisted out by derrick and dumped on the fire whose rising column of smoke was a constant landmark.
The old distilleries were somehow kept going by pieces of wire, bits of tin, lumps of clay, and the infinite resourcefulness of the true bush workman, whose ramshackle buildings were made of hand hewn posts and roofed with branches of nearby trees
VIII.---THE FLYING MOUSE---NEW SOUTH WALES
The eucalyptus-blooms are sweet
With honey, and the birds all day
Sip the clear juices forth: brown-grey,
A bird-like thing with tiny feet
Cleaves to the boughs, or with small wings
Amidst the leafy spaces springs,
And in the moonshine with shrill cries
Flits batlike where the white gums rise.
A CENTURY OF AUSTRALIAN SONG.
Sharp, William, 1855-1905:
Cleanser; Dye; Essential; Fuel; Repellent; Wood.
The leaves and the essential oil in them are used as an insect repellent[14, 152, 174, 240]. The trees can also be planted in wet areas where
mosquitoes abound. The ground will be dried out by the trees, making it unsuitable for the mosquitoes to breed. A decoction of the
leaves is used for repelling insects and vermin. Africans use finely powdered bark as an insect dust.
An essential oil is obtained from the leaves[46, 61, 156]. It is used in perfumery. The yield is about 0.9% by steam
distillation. The essential oil is also in spot removers for cleaning off oil and grease. Yields of 40 to 45 kilos of oil per hectare have
A yellow/brown dye is obtained from the young leaves. It does not require a mordant.
Grey and green dyes are obtained from the young shoots.
A dark green dye is obtained from the young bark.
Wood - heavy[46, 61], (or light according to another report), durable, fire resistant. An important timber species, it is used for
various purposes such as carpentry, construction, fences, piles, platforms, plywood, poles, sheds, tool handles and veneer[238, 269]. The
oil-rich wood is resistant to termites. This is one of the best eucalypts for pulp production for making paper[152, 269].
History: The eucalyptus can store quantities of water in its roots, and for this reason, the tree was planted in swampy ‘fever districts’ to dry up the marshes and prevent outbreaks of malaria. Eucalyptus plantations destined for paper pulp have provoked severe criticism from environmentalists as some virgin forests have been cut down to make way for this fast-growing, water-loving species. This species is the national emblem of Tasmania.
An open world
within its mountain rim:
trees on the plain lifting
their heads, fine strokes
of grass stretching themselves to breathe
the last of the light.
Where a man
riding horseback raises dust
under the eucalyptus trees, a long way off, the dust
is gray-gold, a cloud
of pollen. A field
of cosmea turns
all its many faces
of wide-open flowers west, to the light.
Levertov, Denise, 1923-1997:Lonely Man
Main species distilled
Eucalyptus polybractea commonly known as "Blue Mallee" is a small mallee type tree. It grows only in natural stands in
the districts north and north-west of Bendigo in Victoria and in the West Wyalong area in New South Wales.
The yield of oil from the leaves and terminal branchlets varies between 1.5 and 2.5 per cent. Young material is richer in oil and the time
of year also influences the yield.
The crude oil is high in cineole and usually assays at between 80 and 88 per cent. The absence of aliphatic aldehydes contributes to the
pleasant aroma of the crude oil. The crude oil which is yellow to brown becomes a pale straw colour (rarely water white) on rectification.
"...is a colorless to pale yellow mobile liquid of strong but somewhat sweet-camphoraceous and fresh-cooling odor, and it has a similar taste..."
The yield of oil from the leaves and branchlets averages from 0.75 to 1.25 per cent. The crude oil is a mobile liquid, normally light yellow in colour, with a pronounced odour of the volatile aldehydes which causes coughing and irritation to the mucous membranes. The cineole content is between 60 - 70 per cent and since in many instances the properties of the crude oil do not meet the specifications of most pharmacopoeias the oil has to be rectified to increase the cineole content and to improve its solubility in alcohol. After rectification the oil is water-white.
Eucalyptus citriodora commonly known as the "lemon scented gum". A large tree often attaining a great height with a smooth whitish pale pink bark. Readily identified by the fragrant "citronella-like" odour of the crushed leaves. It grows extensively in Queensland in natural stands. However, it has been extensively cultivated as an ornamental tree and has been planted for commercial purposes in many countries.
The yield of oil from the leaves and terminal branchlets from forest trees varies from 0.5 to 0.75 per cent and from cultivated trees up to 2per cent.
The principal constituent of the oil is citronellal and the oil is used for industrial and perfumery purposes. Large quantities of oil were once distilled in Queensland but Brazil, which has extensive plantations now produces almost all the oil from this species. The last report indicated that there were five million trees of E. citriodora in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, being used for oil production.
Steffen Arctander-"oil is colorless to plae yellow, mobile liquid which has a strong and very fresh, rosy-citronella odor and sweet, balsamic-floral dryout note...."
eucalyptus citriodora leaves
eucalyptus citriodora tree
Eucalyptus dives (type) commonly known as the "broad-leaved Peppermint" grows along the coastal ranges of New South Wales and Victoria. Generally it is a moderate sized tree with a greyish-brown stringy bark.
The yield of oil from the leaves and terminal branchlets varies from two to four per cent with the general average being three per cent.
The oil of this species contains 1-piperitone (40 - 50 per cent) and phellandrene (20 - 30 per cent). The oil is used industrially for the manufacture of synthetic thymol and menthol.
The subject of Eucalyptus is a vast one. Volumes have been written on it. This is only a small introduction the subject. Internet searches on various topics related to it will yield a wealth of information. The analysis of the essential oils produced from different species is also beyond the scope of this article but I would like to include a basic list of phytochemicals found in the tree, Eucalyptus globulus especially the leaves. I am presenting this so that we may realize that it is vastly more complicated oil than a typical gc analysis might reveal. Yes it may have a preponderance of cineole, pinene, etc but by citing a few chemicals and thinking this is what gives an oil its full value is a rather symplistic view of things. A single essential oil represents an aromatic universe. Its components are all acting together in a harmonius way to create the total essence. It is a miracle of life, energy and beauty.
Chemicals in: Eucalyptus globulus LABILL. (Myrtaceae) -- Blue Gum, Eucalypt, Tasmanian
1,8-CINEOLE Leaf 3,500 - 29,750 ppm DUKE1992A
11,12-DEHYDROURSOLACTONE-ACETATE Leaf Wax: DUKE1992A
3-ISOPROPYLIDEN-1-ACETYL-5-CYCLOPENTENE Leaf: DUKE1992A
3-OMETHYLELLAGIC-ACID-4'RHAMNOSIDE Bark: DUKE1992A Wood: DUKE1992A
ALLO-AROMADENDRINE Plant: DUKE1992A
ALPHA-AROMADENDRENE Leaf: DUKE1992A
ALPHA-EUDESMOL Plant: DUKE1992A
ALPHA-PHELLANDRENE Leaf: DUKE1992A
ALPHA-PINENE Leaf: DUKE1992A
AROMADENDRENE Leaf 50 - 350 ppm DUKE1992A
BETA-DIKETONE Leaf Wax: DUKE1992A
BETA-EUDESMOL Plant: DUKE1992A
BETA-PINENE Leaf: DUKE1992A
BUTYRALDEHYDE Leaf: DUKE1992A
CAFFEIC-ACID Leaf: DUKE1992A
CAMPHENE Leaf: DUKE1992A
CAPROALDEHYDE Leaf: DUKE1992A
CARVONE Leaf: DUKE1992A
CHLOROGENIC-ACID Bark: DUKE1992A Wood: DUKE1992A
CITRIODOROL Plant: DUKE1992A
CUMINALDEHYDE Leaf 25 - 135 ppm DUKE1992A
D-CATECHOL Bark: DUKE1992A Wood: DUKE1992A
D-LINALOL Leaf: DUKE1992A
D-MYRTENAL Leaf: DUKE1992A
D-MYRTENOL Leaf: DUKE1992A
D-VERBENONE Leaf: DUKE1992A
ELLAGIC-ACID Leaf: DUKE1992A Stem: DUKE1992A
EO Leaf 5,000 - 35,000 ppm DUKE1992A
EPIGLOBULOL Leaf 28,000 ppm; DUKE1992A
ETHANOL Leaf: DUKE1992A
EUCALYPTIN Leaf: DUKE1992A
EUGLOBAL-IA1 Plant: DUKE1992A
EUGLOBAL-IB Plant: DUKE1992A
EUGLOBAL-IC Plant: DUKE1992A
EUGLOBAL-IIA Plant: DUKE1992A
EUGLOBAL-IIB Plant: DUKE1992A
EUGLOBAL-IIC Plant: DUKE1992A
EUGLOBAL-III Bud 100 ppm; DUKE1992A Leaf 10 ppm; DUKE1992A
EUGLOBAL-IVB Plant: DUKE1992A
EUGLOBAL-VII Plant: DUKE1992A
EUGLOBOL-IA2 Plant: DUKE1992A
FERULIC-ACID Leaf: DUKE1992A
GALLIC-ACID Bark: DUKE1992A Leaf: DUKE1992A Stem: DUKE1992A
GAMMA-TERPINENE Leaf: DUKE1992A
GENTISIC-ACID Leaf: DUKE1992A
GLOBULOL Leaf: DUKE1992A
HYPEROSIDE Leaf: DUKE1992A
I-TERPINEOL Leaf: DUKE1992A
ISOAMYL-ALCOHOL Leaf: DUKE1992A
LEDOL Leaf: DUKE1992A
P-CYMENE Leaf: DUKE1992A
PARAFFIN Leaf 20,000 ppm; DUKE1992A
PINENE Leaf 1,200 - 8,400 ppm DUKE1992A
PINOCARVEOL Leaf 20 - 140 ppm DUKE1992A
PINOCARVONE Leaf: DUKE1992A
PROTOCATECHUIC-ACID Leaf: DUKE1992A
QUERCETIN Leaf: DUKE1992A
QUERCETOL Plant: DUKE1992A
QUERCETOL-3-GLUCOSIDE Plant: DUKE1992A
QUERCETRIN Leaf: DUKE1992A
QUERCITRIN Plant: DUKE1992A
RUTIN Leaf: DUKE1992A
TRANS-PINOCARVEOL Leaf: DUKE1992A
TRITRIACONTANE-16,18-DIONE Plant: DUKE1992A
VALERALDEHYDE Leaf: DUKE1992A
VIRIDIFLOROL Leaf: DUKE1992A